Clean electricity leads for 50 days after six years

By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 25 2021
News Clean electricity leads for 50 days after six years

By Paneetha Ameresekere

Sri Lanka’s cheap and Environmentally friendly clean electricity led by ‘CEB hydroelectricity’ generation, powered by the rains, provided over 50 per cent of the island’s electricity requirements for 50 consecutive calendar days to Tuesday (23) after a six year lapse, CEB data of yesterday (24) showed.

The last time clean electricity provided over 50 per cent of Sri Lanka’s electricity needs for 50 consecutive calendar days was at least six years ago in 2015.

Clean electricity led by hydro and followed by wind, solar and biomass (municipal waste or ‘garbage electricity’) provided 65.51 per cent (29.60 GWh) of all of Sri Lanka’s total electricity consumption of 40.05 GWh on Tuesday alone, while the balance was provided by the dirty and more expensive imported fossil fuels. Fossil fuels comprise coal and oil led by diesel.

Hydroelectricity is mainly dominated by ‘CEB Hydro,’ which, on Tuesday was responsible for supplying 58.64 per cent (25.97 GWh) of all of (44.29 GWh) Sri Lanka’s electricity requirements on that day.

According to CBSL’s 2020 Annual Report, the cost of producing one unit (one kilowatt hour (kWh) of CEB hydroelectricity last year was a mere Rs 2.32. However, the production of CEB thermal coal electricity (coal) was more than four times that cost at Rs 9.81 a unit, CEB thermal oil electricity (CEB oil), 13 times the cost of CEB hydroelectricity at Rs 29.94 a unit, private sector oil more than 12.01 times the cost of CEB hydro at Rs 27.87 a unit, and private sector hydro and waste electricity at 7.56 times that cost at Rs 17.55 a unit.  According to the then Power Minister Dullas Alahapperuma, the cost of producing one unit of wind electricity is Rs 8.

Currently, the chief sources of clean CEB hydroelectricity include the Mahaweli hydroelectric power project (HEPP) the leader, followed by Laxapana, Kukule Ganga and Samanala Wewa.

The Mahaweli HEPP Complex comprises, Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala, Rantambe and Upper Kotmale hydroelectricity reservoirs, respectively. Victoria, Kotmale, Randenigala and Rantanbe were built during the J.R. Jayewardene era, after obtaining grant aid from the UK, Sweden and the then West Germany (both Randenigala and Rantambe), respectively. 

Upper Kotmale hydroelectricity reservoir, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era, was built during the Mahinda Rajapaksa era, after obtaining a soft loan from Japan.

Laxapana was built with Treasury funds during the D.S. Senanayake era and subsequently expanded after obtaining a World Bank soft loan.

Kukule Ganga, conceptualised during the Ranasinghe Premadasa era, was built during the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga era, after obtaining a soft loan from Japan, and Samanala Wewa, conceptualised during the Jayewardene era, was built during the Premadasa era, also after obtaining a soft loan from Japan.

CEB’s definition of a day is the 24 hours ended at 6:00 a.m. on a calendar day.


By Paneetha Ameresekere | Published: 2:00 AM Nov 25 2021

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